The 13th annual Durban Business Fair, held over the weekend, left one clear impression: within the business and SME market in Durban, the fair is growing in terms of both impact and influence. Big businesses have started playing a critical role in empowering small businesses in South Africa, which portrays cohesion and unity within the broader business community.
This attitude was evident at the fair, with organisations such as MTN, Sapref, Progressive Business Forum (PBF) and Seda sponsoring more than 80 SMEs who participated in the Business Fair to gain extensive exposure and access to markets.
Feet on the ground
More than 14 000 people visited the Business Fair, where more than 500 exhibitors were showcasing a variety of their innovative and unique products and services.
Esteemed dignitaries to the Fair included Deputy Minister of Tourism, Ms Tokozile Xasa, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms Elizabeth Thabethe, Mayor of eThekwini Municipality, James Nxumalo and Mayor of Bulawayo, TP Moyo.
The Speakers Corner, which is a business seminar within the Business Fair, featured highly credible speakers who addressed more than 400 delegates on topical and key business
The City’s Business Support, Tourism and Markets Unit used the Business Fair is the perfect platform to announce the winners of the Lions Den Programme, a competition designed for SMEs in order to stimulate good business ideas, encourage sustainable entrepreneurship, innovation and competitiveness amongst SMEs. Companies that came out victorious were Megaphase Road Signs (Entrepreneurship Excellence) and Creative Lead (Established SMEs), while Afronic Data, Vuma Fashion Café and Kwakuhle Interior Décor were all winners in the Emerging SMEs category.
Head of Business Support, Tourism and Markets Unit, Philip Sithole said, ‘We would like to extend our sincere appreciation to the broader business community and key stakeholders not forgetting the general public for supporting the Durban Business Fair, and this year’s edition proved once again why Durban is one of the leading cities not only in South Africa or Africa but in the world.
“The high level of interaction between exhibitors and visitors was motivating as this allowed for the much needed flow of information between businesses and their respective clients in order to enhance efficiency on the side of businesses and achieve customer satisfaction for consumers. This will strengthen sustainable business development and growth.”
Patience Serenje of Paty Lue Designs, a fashion design business, was overwhelmed by the response to her stand at the Fair. “I’m going to have my hands full over the next couple of weeks trying to meet the 33 orders I generated at the Fair. It’s the first time that I’ve had an opportunity to showcase my business on such a large scale,” she said.